Written by Malisa Manning, a Louisiana State University Sophomore
On April 24th, thanks to Dr. Layfield, we had the opportunity to meet with Michele A. Berdy, a writer from The Moscow Times. Ms. Berdy has been working and living in Russia for nearly 30 years. Besides being a writer, she has translated fiction and nonfiction books, produced documentaries and talk shows, co-authored an English-Russian dictionary, interpreted for people such as Boris Yeltsin and Nancy Reagan, and lastly she founded a non-government organization that promotes healthy living all across Russia. Dr. Layfield did everything he could to have her meet us,
both because he thought it would be a good experience to meet with an American that had lived in Russia before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union and because he wanted us to learn about campaigning from a person who had already started their own healthy living campaign. At first, all of us were quite shy, but Ms. Berdy’s personality was very open and fun and it did not take long before we were tossing out questions about her life and work. She was very gracious and answered everything with a smile. Many of the American students had questions about living during Soviet times versus the present. She said that one of the biggest differences during Soviet times was that most foreigners were extremely isolated, almost to the point
that the only people who would talk to them for any length of time were underground artists, actors, and musicians. Another difference was the limited communication. She said that if she wanted to call home she would have to order the call several days in advance. As we started asking questions about campaigning, she showed us part of her own campaign, enforcing what we had learned in Dr. Layfield’s class and adding a few more tips here and there as she went. Overall, meeting with Ms. Berdy was a delight and an excellent learning experience. All the students were extremely grateful to Dr. Layfield for putting in so much work to bring her to us and to Ms. Berdy herself for taking the time to meet with us. The information on Michele Berdy was from our meeting with her and from the short biography written by J. Quinn Martin at the website: http://www3.amherst.edu/magazine/issues/04summer/berdy/index.html
Also in this Issue...
- Weekend Trip to St. Petersburg by Aidan Lowe
"Our first stop upon arriving was touring the impressive Hermitage art museum. It is one of the largest museums in the world, with over three million pieces of art, and houses such notable classics as works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Da Vinci. "
- Lenin's Mausoleum by Blaise Nicklas
"Once we entered the mausoleum, we quickly noticed how dark it was and it took our eyes a moment to adjust. We walked down one staircase and entered the chamber housing Lenin’s sarcophagus. I was surprised by how far it was from the viewing platform. The glass-walled casket was draped with dark fabric and there was a light inside illuminating his upper body."
- Spring At Last by William Nelson
"As we get ready to leave, we are finally rewarded with the jewels of the city that had laid hidden for what seemed like an eternity. Just outside of the Kremlin wall, in the Alexander Gardens, flowers bloom, children run about, and the flowing water animates the fountains, which the gardens are known for. "
Issue Photographer: Blaise Nicklas
Issue Reviewer: Blaise Nicklas
Written by Aidan Lowe, a Clemson University Sophomore
Russia has two major cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow is the exciting, fast-paced capital city that strives to be a modern metropolis. St. Petersburg is located in the north and is slower paced and charming with its series of canals and brightly colored buildings with breathtaking architecture. Our second-to-last weekend in Russia was a treat, as we spent three days in St. Petersburg. It began with a 3:30 AM train ride to the city, and was the first time any of us had traveled on an overnight train. Our first stop upon arriving was touring the impressive Hermitage art museum. It is one of the largest museums in the world, with over three million pieces of art, and houses such notable classics as works by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Da Vinci. Afterwards, we had a bus tour and viewed all of
the major tourist destinations in the city, including the ship Aurora, the Cathedral on the Spilt Blood, and the Peter and Paul Fortress.
On Saturday, we had an early start at the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where many of Russia’s tsars are buried.
Our tour guide explained the rich history behind each of this country’s rulers. In the afternoon we headed to the picturesque town of Pushkin, home of both Catherine the Second’s palace and the former school of Pushkin, Russia’s beloved poet. We were amazed by the extensive restoration that was performed on the palace following its destruction by German bombs in World War II. We were amazed by the famous Amber Room, with three walls completely covered in pieces of amber.
Sunday was our last day in the city, and we spent the morning touring three cathedrals, including St. Issac’s, where we climbed 230 steps and viewed St. Petersburg from the church rotunda. It was fascinating to have a bird’s eye view of this coastal metropolis. In the afternoon we visited Pushkin’s apartment and had lunch at a delicious café, afterwards enjoying the late-afternoon sun at a local park.
Although there is disagreement among the American students over which city is better, we can all agree that St. Petersburg resembles Western Europe more than Moscow and has a unique charm. Although we viewed most of the main sights, we would all like to to return for a more extensive vacation. I would personally enjoy returning during the summer months when St. Petersburg experiences White Nights, when the town is illuminated nearly 24 hours a day by sunlight.